When a minor child’s parents decide to end their romantic relationship and both adults choose to remain active parents, California law mandates that a child custody order – including a parenting plan – be put into action.
Even when both parents agree on a basic custody structure, the process of crafting a parenting plan is rarely easy or straightforward. But, if each party is willing to approach this process with a few fundamental goals in mind, creating a mutually-agreeable parenting plan is undoubtedly possible.
As all child custody matters that turn contentious are resolved according to the “best interests of the child” standard, you and your co-parent should keep your child’s best interests at the forefront of your mind when planning. Certainly, it is important that your arrangements are workable for you and your co-parent too, but your child’s best interests are paramount.
Also, keep in mind that while you need to set reasonable expectations that allow everyone to plan and remain accountable for their responsibilities, life “happens.” You’ll want to keep your parenting plan terms relatively flexible, for the most part, to prevent the kind of tension that arises when expectations are unreasonably rigid between co-parents.
While crafting a mutually-agreeable parenting plan can be challenging, the reward of directing your own future can be well worth the effort. Although judges are generally very well-intentioned, no parent wants to leave their child’s schedule and the nuances of their co-parenting relationship up to a judge.
By carefully considering your child’s best interests, setting reasonable expectations and keeping things flexible when possible and appropriate, you’ll craft a parenting plan that is more “workable” than most. And don’t forget, professional legal resources are available if you need some guidance. Just because your situation isn’t contentious doesn’t mean that you can’t ask for help if you need it.